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The Gramps Morgan experience

HAD FUN— Patrons

ENERGETIC— Gramps Morgan

Riding on the wave of unbridled passion and energy, there was nothing that could have stopped Jamaican reggae artist Roy Gramps Morgan from stealing the show.

He came to sing. And preach. In his own way.

Through song, he ridiculed follies such as lust and selfishness, indicating, for instance, that the greatest supply of love in the world must, under ideal conditions, be found in humans, who have been commissioned to lord over other things, living and non-living, on the earth.

At the Sand Music Festival at Sunbird Nkopola in the lakeshore district of Mangochi, however, Gramps Morgan seemed to have settled for love and family life as the sub-themes for his performance.

After observing that, for seven years, he has been longing to perform at Sand Music Festival in Malawi and that his dream only materialised this year, the Jamaican artist— who was born in 1976 in Brooklyn, New York, the United States— quickly let his brain wander back to the business of the day.

Love, he sang in ‘People Like You’, is the purpose of life. That is why, in the song, the persona waxes lyrical about the love, even if unreturned, that is there for the taking.

Of course, it was by public demand that he sang all the lyrics:

If you give a little more than you take

And if you try to fix more than you break

If you’re the kind who takes the time

To help a stranger in the rain

There’s a place for people like you

If you stand up for those down on their knees

And lend a voice to those who cannot speak

If you shine a little light and give sight

To the ones who’ve lost their way

There’s a place for people like you

I’ve heard up there the streets are made of gold

And when you get there, there’s a hand to hold

I believe when your days down here are through

There’s a place up there for people like you

If you walk around with your heart on your sleeve

And if you try to be the change you want to see

If you laid down your life for love

So someone could be saved

There’s a place for people like you

I’ve heard up there the streets are made of gold

And when you get there, there’s a hand to hold

I believe when your days down here are through

There’s a place up there for people like you

(Oooooo ooooo) (Oooooo ooooo) (Oooooo ooooo)

I’ve heard up there the streets are made of gold

And when you get there, there’s a hand to hold

I believe when your days down here are through

There’s a place up there for people like you

I know you’re out there

So keep doing what you do

Cuz there’s a place up there for people like you

Hmm hmmm hmmm (Out of many one people jarl)

And, by public demand, he repeated the song, prompting some members of the audience to throw hands in the air.

The lyrics, it seems, are designed to make those that do not give out love, perhaps thinking that life starts and ends here, have an uneasy consciousness of their folly, which should, using Gramps Morgan’s line of thought, then open the floodgates of love in reluctant people.

This is not the sort of love that vanishes as soon as it appears; this is love that endures— love the “Morgan Experience” way, as he put it.

The Morgan Experience, gauging by his Sand Music Festival performance, is the experience filled with love in real life and energetic performances on stage.

And energetic he was, on stage.

Despite being delayed for some 20 minutes or so as engineers worked on sound— not just sound, but the perfect sound for Gramps Morgan— when that temporary darkness of sound testing dissipated, Gramps Morgan became the subject of admiration, performing one song after another and making patrons to this year’s 11th edition of Sand Music Festival merry for more than two hours.

“Let me perform the last song,” he said.

When he performed the so-called last song, Gramps Morgan remembered that “I have been longing to perform at the Sand Music Festival for seven years”.

And, so, he continued playing one song after another, picking several tracks from his Positive Vibrations album.

“We have all been affected by the Covid pandemic. We are all in this situation. In Positive Vibrations, I just want to encourage each one of us that we will get over this. We will triumph,” he said of the 15-track album.

From ‘Wash the Tears’ to ‘One In a Million’ and more, Gramps Morgan left a positive impression on all those who watched him perform at Sand Music Festival.

Even the visionary Sand Music Festival founder Soldier Lucius Banda, who sat in a chair covered with a white piece of cloth, was impressed.

Take, for instance, one moment when Gramps Morgan declared: “Tell your Minister of Arts [Michael Usi] that I want to be a part of this festival every year. I have been waiting for this moment for seven years!”

Lucius smiled on the sidelines of the stage.

And he smiled again when Gramps Morgan declared, after he had performed what was to be the last song, namely ‘People Like You’ thus: “Mr security man, do not tell me to go. I have waited for this moment for seven years.”

And then he performed and performed and performed, until the hitherto dark skies broke into clear skies, with a quarter moon floating somewhere to the right hand of Gramps Morgan directly over Lake Malawi.

Of course, that is as far as visibility could permit, for there is no way that the quarter moon could be hovering over Lake Malawi.

And, then, he commented on Lake Malawi, in terms of how beautiful it is.

“This lake is beautiful. There is no scenery like this anywhere in the world. You people must appreciate this,” he said.

And, after saying that, he performed as if Lake Malawi gave him a deep contentment that stirred him into a new sense of wakefulness on stage— continuing to play one song after another because of the urge to continue performing.

Bursting with unbridled passion and energy, he took his bow when it was all clear all about, in terms of sunrise, but then, after descending half-way down the stairs, he rushed back to the stage to continue playing one more song— to the amusement of fans.

“This is what I call the Morgan Heritage experience. By the way, I am also a family man. The family comes first,” he said.

When he finally took a bow, boarding the black Range Rover with tinted glasses, the place exploded with an echoing boom.

And, then, a drowsy calm filled the place as Black Missionaries prepared to take over the stage. Oh, you should have observed the disturbing emptiness on people’s faces.

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